STARDUST Status Report
April 21, 1999
The STARDUST spacecraft is currently 32 million kilometers (20 million miles)
from the Earth, and traveling at a speed of 108,000 kilometers/hour (67,000 miles/hour)
relative to the Sun. The spacecraft has traveled over 213 million kilometers (132
million miles) since its launch on a Delta 2 rocket on February 7, 1999.
There were only minimal communications by the flight team at Lockheed
Martin Astronautics (LMA) in Denver with the spacecraft during the past
week with the spacecraft continuing to operate very well.
recent communications were principally to monitor the gain variation of
the Solid State Power Amplifier (SSPA) as a function of temperature
variation. The temperature of the SSPA rises a few degrees when we go to
2-way communications. Work has been proceeding in our Spacecraft Test
Laboratory in preparing the commands for next week where we will rotate
the spacecraft to face the German-provided Cometary and Interplanetary
Dust Analyzer (CIDA) and the University of Chicago-supplied Dust Flux
Monitor Instrument (DFMI) into the interstellar dust stream.
For more information on the STARDUST mission - the first ever comet sample
return mission - please visit the STARDUST home page: